The Adam Park excavation. (Credit: Lim Chen Sian)
Seventy years ago in February 1942, some of the most ferocious fighting in the Pacific War took place amidst the well-manicured lawns of a quiet suburb in Bukit Timah. At Adam Park, the Cambridgeshires – a novice British infantry battalion – was thrown into the thick of fighting in the epic Battle of Singapore. Miraculously, for four grueling days the Cambridgeshires held their ground and stood firm against the elite Japanese 41st Regiment’s onslaught, fighting until finally ordered by the High Command to lay down their arms.
Between May 2010 and April 2011, Mr. Lim Chen Sian led an archaeological team to conduct an archaeological survey of the Adam Park battlefield. The Adam Park project presented an opportunity for archaeologists in Singapore to experiment with the methods and theories that had been successfully deployed elsewhere such as World War I battlefields in Europe. Battlefield archaeology is a unique branch of the archaeological discipline and involves the investigation of a very specific event involving conflict and fighting. The project also included architectural historians and conservators in the search for a chapel created by the POWs after the battle. The project was co-organized with the Singapore Heritage Society.
The archaeology team conducted topographic mapping at Adam Park. (Credit: Lim Chen Sian)
Mr. Lim Chen Sian curated the “Four Days in February: Adam Park the Last Battle” exhibit (8th February 2012 to 24th June 2012) at the National Library of Singapore, based on findings from the project. The launch in February 2012 also marked the 70th anniversary of the fall of Singapore, an event so tumultuous that Winston Churchill spoke of it as the “worst disaster and largest capitulation in British history.”